Thousands of PROTEC17 members from across our union are in the midst of contract negotiations or are about to kick off bargaining for their new contracts this year. From Portland to Seattle, from Chelan Douglas Health District to Kitsap Public Health, and from Spokane County to Pierce County, members are ready to stand in solidarity with their colleagues to win workplace improvements and protections, and fair wages and benefits that reflect the vital work they do for our local governments and communities.
To gear up for negotiations, PROTEC17 member-leaders are launching and leading strategic contract campaigns to keep members informed and engaged throughout the bargaining process.
On June 3, nearly 50 members from across the Pacific Northwest participated in a training titled ‘How to Build a Successful Contract Campaign’. The training was born out of an idea from the
PROTEC17 Workers’ Roundtable (PWR!) meeting in the spring to help build solidarity and support for each other’s impending contract battles.
PWR is a core group of members who are focused on racial, social, and economic justice in union-wide and community-based issues. In the spring meeting, PWR member and King County Chapter President Lucas Smith (pictured, next page) shared some of the highs and lows of contract negotiations so far at the County, which began late in 2020. Knowing that many local governments are considering austerity measures in the wake of the pandemic, and that many PROTEC17 contracts would be open for negotiations this year, PWR decided to make contract campaining a high priority for the group.
In the Contract Campaign training, participants learned how to set goals, assess strengths and obstacles, build trust and get people involved and engaged, among many other skills. Members also learned about what a Contract Action Team (CAT) is and how the CAT is vital to quickly disseminating important information to colleagues during negotiations.
King County has already established a successful CAT that has created their own newsletter, or bargaining bulletin, and they are now considering their next course of action as they look to escalate their campaign and highlight their priorities of wage parity and fairness, essential worker pay, a telecommute stipend, and protections for long-term temporary workers. While negotiations with the County have been a challenge so far, members are feeling unified and powerful.
“As a union, our power is always the power of numbers – all of us together as union members in solidarity,” said Smith. “Being united is all the more important during contract negotiations, when standing together and fighting for our needs is the only way to make sure we win the contract rights we deserve.”
CAT members are actively being recruited at the City of Seattle, City of Portland, Kitsap Health, Pierce County and elsewhere that members are prepping for contract negotiations. If you weren’t able to make the training and would like to watch the recording – or if you’re interested in helping out during your contract negotiations – let your Union Representative know.
Also, contract-related messages and updates come mainly via email to members’ personal email addresses. If you need to update your contact information with us, please reach out to your Union Representative, use the PROTEC17 member portal (members.protec17.org), email , or call 800-783-0017.